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NAQS cracks down on food smugglers, hoarders

By Egbodo Queen

In a decisive move to combat the illicit activities of food smugglers and hoarders, the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has announced heightened measures, including the deployment of additional officers to the nation’s land and sea borders.

The primary objective is to support the Federal Government’s efforts in stabilizing food prices nationwide and ensuring food security across Nigeria.

“The NAQS has launched a nationwide crackdown on the smuggling and hoarding of agricultural commodities to support the Federal Government’s initiative aimed at maintaining food prices and ensuring food security,” declared the agency in a statement issued from Abuja.

This proactive action aligns with the agency’s mandate to regulate the handling of agricultural products, ensuring their safety for consumption and availability at fair prices for the Nigerian populace.

“In line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration, we are fully committed to ensuring that Nigerians have an ample food supply by strengthening our borders and cracking down on the smuggling and hoarding of agricultural commodities,” the statement further emphasized.

Established in accordance with the Establishment Act of 2017, NAQS is tasked with preventing the entry, establishment, and spread of foreign pests and diseases that affect plant, animal, and aquatic resources and products within the country.

Additionally, the agency aims to enhance sanitary and phytosanitary measures related to the import and export of agricultural products to mitigate risks to agriculture, food safety, and the environment.

Highlighting the paramount importance of food security, the agency underscored its commitment to preventing the unlawful export of agricultural commodities through ports and land borders. This endeavor, it believes, will not only help stabilize food prices but also foster transparency and fairness in the agricultural supply chain.

To bolster enforcement efforts, the agency has deployed more officers to border areas to tackle the menace of food smuggling and hoarding.

“In combating the illegal smuggling and hoarding of agricultural commodities, NAQS is enhancing its inspection and control measures at all entry and exit points,” the statement explained.

“Officers are diligently monitoring the borders and control posts, conducting rigorous inspections to prevent any unauthorized export of agricultural commodities.”

This strategic approach reflects a concerted effort to address the challenges facing the agricultural sector and promote food security and sustainable development.

The acting Comptroller-General of the agency, Dr. Godwin Audu, urged the public to report any suspicious activities related to the hoarding or smuggling of agricultural commodities, underscoring the collective responsibility in safeguarding Nigeria’s food security.

 

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